New York City could soon get more police officers, thanks to the passage of legislation that will provide $298 million in hiring grants for the popular Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.
The grant will allow for the hiring of approximately 1,500 new police officers nationwide, with up to 105 additional officers in New York to keep streets safe, based on historical funding trends.
“Our safety challenges can’t take a backseat to our economic ones,” said Congressmember Anthony Weiner. “More cops mean fewer violent crimes and greater vigilance against terrorism – and the federal government will help pay for them.”
Weiner is a long-time champion of the COPS program, sponsoring its reauthorization in Congress for the last three years. Earlier this year, the House passed Weiner’s COPS bill, which would add 50,000 new beat cops around the nation over the next five years. In addition, the stimulus bill added $1 billion to the COPS hiring program, which led to an additional 4,700 officers on the streets nationwide.
Created in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, the COPS program provides localities with a three-year federal grant for the specific purpose of hiring or rehiring new police officers. Grants have provided localities with $9 billion since 1994 to hire 117,000 police officers nationwide, including nearly 7,000 in New York City.
Between 1998 and 2000, COPS hiring grants were responsible for reducing crimes by about 200,000 to 225,000 nationally – one third of which were violent, according to a 2005 Government Accountability Office report.
“This is truly an important investment, particularly since New York was left out in the cold with the stimulus bill, which inexplicably failed to provide a single dollar in COPS funding to the country’s biggest metropolis,” said Weiner. “With this funding, we can continue to ensure that New York remains one of the safest cities in the world.”